Johnson Doubles Down on Vaccine Strategy as His Popularity Wanes

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The British prime minister is betting that vaccinating teenagers and giving boosters to those over 50 will protect the health system and prevent a new lockdown.

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LONDON — His political fortunes faltered when Prime Minister Boris Johnson downplayed his initial response to the coronavirus pandemic, thanks only to Britain’s surprisingly effective vaccine rollout.

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His popularity is now declining again – this time after a broken promise not to raise taxes – Mr Johnson is hoping history will repeat itself.

On Tuesday, he announced a campaign to give vaccine booster shots to people age 50 and older, as well as the first shot to three million children aged 12 to 15 — all to avoid future lockdowns. Reiterating his promise to

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Should new cases surge in the winter, however, he could mandate mandatory mask-wearing, roll out vaccine passports, and urge workers to stay home if possible, which the government calls “Plan B”. says.

“We are now in a situation where so many populations have some degree of immunity, small changes in the way we are asking people to behave can have a big impact,” Johnson said at a news conference. “

For now, the prime minister is placing his faith in a re-vaccine campaign to keep Britain’s healthcare from becoming overwhelmed, and to keep it from ordering a new lockdown that would cripple the economy and save its own parliamentarians. will affect the noisy caucus.

Matthew Goodwin said, “The vaccine boom helped him in the first place and if the booster plan – which will be a big story in British politics – goes well and he is able to say that the rollout is going to go to plan, then it will help.” He’ll get help.” , Professor of Politics at the University of Kent.

But Mr. Goodwin said, “he is certainly weak in terms of his inner critics.”

For a leader who often appears to disregard political seriousness, the risks are high, as poll ratings for Mr Johnson’s Conservative Party are falling for the first time in months. Last week, he announced plans to raise taxes and there are growing doubts about his pledge to “level up” economically disadvantaged areas.

There are also signs that some of the voters who attracted Mr Johnson to the 2019 election are moving away. Professor Goodwin said, “It seems that his premiership has not currently reached the things that these voters want.”

It was an impending funding crisis in health and social care programs that forced Mr Johnson to break his word and agree to raise taxes on workers, employers and some investors. It has not only jeopardized his party’s reputation for low taxation, But it has also angered many of the party’s leading donors.

According to a recent opinion poll conducted by YouGov, support for the Conservatives has dropped five points to 33 percent. For the first time since January, the Labor Party rose one point to 35 percent.

Part of Mr Johnson’s difficulty is that, while polls generally show the British public supports tough measures to contain the virus, lockdown restrictions are anathema to the noisy liberal wing of his own Conservative Party .

So while the government did not rule out the possibility of further tightening restrictions, it did make it clear that they would be a very last resort once “lockdown light” measures such as mandatory mask wearing or vaccine passports are eliminated.

On Tuesday, Mr Johnson stressed the success of the vaccination campaign, which he said has created “one of the most free societies and one of the most open economies in Europe”. “That’s why we stick to our strategy now,” he said.

Public-health experts generally backed Mr Johnson’s announcements, although some said Britain, as always, lagged behind other countries on issues such as vaccinating young people or encouraging the use of face masks.

“They always get there, just need them later,” said Devi Sridhar, head of the global public health program at the University of Edinburgh.

Britain, she said, was “moving in the same direction as other countries, but with a major delay” in preparing a contingency plan for immunization of people aged 12 to 15, compulsory mask-wearing and vaccine passports, and promote testing to achieve the country. What is likely to be a hard winter.

Monday’s decision to vaccinate children under the age of 12 was controversial, although several other countries, including the United States, France, Italy and the Netherlands, began doing so months ago. The British government’s advisory group, the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization, previously concluded that the health benefits for those aged 12 to 15 were modest. This prompted debate over the ethics of vaccinating children to prevent the spread of a virus that poses a health risk to the adults they live with and meet.

On Monday, chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland argued that, by reducing disruption to schools, a vaccination campaign would bring other benefits to young people.

Similarly, the decision on the booster places Britain among a growing group of countries that are offering their own citizens extra shots before many people in large parts of the world receive a single dose, drawing criticism from David Nabarro. To provoke, a special envoy on covid. World Health Organization.

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